Devon Nicholson files suit against WWE
GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
|Devon Nicholson. Photo by Tony Caldwell, Ottawa Sun
Devon "Hannibal" Nicholson, the Ottawa wrestler who has already filed a $6.5M lawsuit against Abdullah the Butcher, has now filed a statement of claim against World Wrestling Entertainment, claiming wrongful dismissal/breach of contract. The wrestler, who has Hepatitis C, is seeking almost $6 million from WWE.
The suit, filed August 26th and served September 26, 2011 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, is based on the fact that WWE offered Nicholson a standard contract on June 5, 2009, and later rescinded the contract on August 28, 2009, upon discovery that Nicholson had Hepatitis C through medical tests required for the employment.
Nicholson is alleging that he was discriminated against based on the fact that he was found to be Hepatitis C positive. His separate claim against Abdullah the Butcher (Larry Shreve, of Atlanta) is accusing the famed wrestler infected Nicholson with the blood disease.
The suit seeks:
- Damages for wrongful dismissal and/or breach of contract in the amount of $600,000
- Damages for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect under the Ontario Human Rights Code, in the amount of $250,000
- Aggravated and punitive damages in the amount of $5,000,000
"In rescinding Devon's employment contract, the WWE intentionally infringed Devon's human rights by discriminating against him because he is Hepatitis C positive," the claim reads.
Part of the suit also brings up WWE's "No Blood Policy" whereby the company attempts to curtail blood in the ring. Nicholson alleges that different doctors told him different things as has as being able to wrestle while Hepatitis C positive given the "No Blood Policy."
There are five U.S. states where Hepatitis C positive wrestlers are barred from performing.
According to the filing, Ty Bailey from WWE's Talent Relations Branch called Nicholson and expressly said that the rescinding of the contract was not related to Nicholson's health situation, but "rather was due to licensing situations."
Nicholson has competed in pro wrestling as Hannibal, Kid Nichols, and Adam Lust.
The 28-year-old wrestler/promoter has announced that he is retiring from professional wrestling.
"I'm turning 29 in a few weeks and am going to find other things to use my talents for. My mind can't take it anymore," Nicholson wrote SLAM! Wrestling in an email. "October 8th in Renfrew [Ontario] will be my last match."
Nicholson is being represented by Ted Bergeron and Gavin Cosgrove from the Bergeron Clifford law firm.
Devon "Hannibal" Nicholson story archive